Ask a little girl what type of car she wants and the answer is usually a brightly-colored slug bug, right? I always wanted a slug bug growing up, although I wanted a black and white one to look like a Converse shoe. People would always smile at me when I said I wanted a Voltzwagen Beetle, sure that I would change my mind as I got older.
I never did.
When I was fifteen, I ordered my first car off of eBay (seriously!). It was a former Geek Squad car. You know, those black and white beetles from Best Buy? They'd already painted the doors black, which was sad, but I didn't care. I absolutely LOVED my new car.
For my birthday, a friend of mine gave me a pair of baby Converse shoes to hang from the mirror and I purchased a pretty pink flower to stick in the vase next to the steering wheel.
I felt like I had the best first car in the entire world.
After a while, I began to have some trouble with my bug. While I loved the way it looked, I was NOT a fan of how it held up. It broke down all the time, and since it was a foreign car, each repair cost quite a bit of money. Oil changes cost more than seventy dollars. The gas mileage was okay, but even that wasn't AMAZING. The only great aspects of my car were its appearance and the fact that I could park anywhere.
In the fall of 2010, a service light came on. Much to my dismay, something small in the engine needed to be replaced, which would cost nearly $1,500. My parents decided the repair wasn't worth it. My car had more than 80,000 miles on it. Plus, it was so small, it would be difficult to ever be able to transport my stuff to college. They decided to invest in a better car for me.
The car I have now I love even more than my adorable beetle. It's a silver Toyota Corolla S. I don't have a picture of it right now, but you can see the same model here. This car had less than a third of the mileage of my beetle and better gas mileage. It's a little bigger, but not too big, and it's still cute since it's a sport package. In the last six months, it hasn't broken down once.
Moving on from the cars I've owned, let me skip back a few years to my sixteenth birthday. I got my driver's license on my birthday, right after school. Although I never liked driving much, I was ecstatic.
Eight days after I got my driver's license, I was in a car accident. It was my fault. I misunderstood a traffic law and hit another car. The huge suburban's back tire was slightly damaged... and my car was nearly totaled. Thankfully, I had insurance that covered the cost of repairs and aside from a few bumps and bruises on my end, both me and my car were okay.
But after the accident, I could hardly bring myself to drive. I was terrified.
For days, every time I tried to fall asleep, I would jerk back to consciousness, images of the collision occurring again and again in my mind. What if I messed up again the next time I drove? What if someone died? My mom would try to coaxe me behind the wheel, but my hands would begin to shake and I could hardly concentrate. For a couple of months, I wouldn't drive unless I had a parent in the seat next to me.
To this day, I still have some driving anxiety. Of course I can drive much easier now than I could when I was sixteen. I drive just about wherever I go, but if I have an opportunity to bum a ride from a friend (cough, Ali), I'll take it in a heartbeat. Driving causes my heart to pound and my mind to race. My shoulders tense up. I can't drive for more than an hour or so without feeling exhausted and stressed.
While I still dread every ten hour road trip to and from College Station, I have a peace about it. I think I'll always have some minor driving anxiety--I'm just not someone who likes to drive--but I am not TERRIFIED like I once was. I usually say a quick prayer before I even start my car. "Please guide me as I drive. Please keep me safe." I know the Lord will protect me.
Do you have driving anxiety? Any tips?